LAHORE: Security was beefed up across the provincial metropolis yesterday evening with massive police deployment around mosques and imambargahs to protect worshippers in the holy month of Ramazan.

The field officers were directed to implement the security strategy, according to the standard operating procedure, in the sensitive and most sensitive areas. All the police response units and patrolling squads will patrol city roads and streets during the prayer timings.

Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf yesterday told The Nation that the police patrolling was intensified in the metropolis particularly around shopping malls, markets, and mosques to check the movement of suspected elements.

“A comprehensive security plan has been put in place tonight in Lahore. We have deployed more police this time as compared to the previous year. All patrolling units are on the roads to maintain peace,” the officer said.

Ashraf, who leads the police operations in Lahore, said that more than 6000 policemen were deployed on security duties around religious places, markets, and shopping centers. The security plan has been divided into three categories, the officer said. “There will be complete police security around religious places during Sehr, Iftar, and Taraveeh prayers.”

The security of Ramazan bazaars is included in the second part of the plan while in the third phase Eid Bazaars, markets, and important roads would be provided security cover with massive deployment of police force including plainclothesmen.

When asked about security threats, the DIG said that there were no specific security threats but the police would remain on high alert to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-state elements.

As per the security plan, all hotels, inns and Ramazan bazaars will be thoroughly checked. The police officers are also directed to ensure armed patrolling in their respective areas and maintain foolproof security for all religious places by deploying Muhafiz Force and plainclothes officials there.

There would be three-layer security around the important religious places during Sehr, Iftar, and Taraveeh prayers and additional police force would also be deployed around Masajids and Imambargahs for proper checking. At least 180 police squads will be on patrolling in different areas of the provincial metropolis.

All the station house officers will frequently visit Masajids and Imambargahs located in their areas to review security arrangements and discourage unnecessary use of loudspeakers.

The field officers were asked to ensure parking lots at least 100 meters away from religious places where a constable or a private security guard will be deployed. All vehicles parked nearby will be checked.

Also, the police will keep bus-stands and the railway station under strict surveillance. An awareness campaign has also been launched among the people to inform police emergency number Rescue-15 in case they find any person with suspicious movements or find any abandoned briefcase or luggage.

The wardens are strictly directed to maintain a smooth flow of vehicular traffic in Ramazan particularly in the afternoon. The traffic officers would personally visit different crossings, roads, and places before Iftar to check the movement of vehicular traffic.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police spokeswoman said that a security plan was being implemented to guards at least 32,386 mosques, and 2666 Imambargahs besides other Taraveeh places, important markets, business centers, and government offices.

At least 76578 policemen and private guards would remain on their toes particularly during the timings of Iftar and Sehar all over the province, the spokesperson.

Last week, the central police office approved the Ramazan security plan after accepting recommendations and suggestions of the district police officers and the field officers.

According to officials, at least 1115 walkthrough gates and 13728 metal detectors had already been provided to the districts for security measures. Similarly, the search operations would continue across the province as the police were directed to ensure snap-checking at the entry and exit points of the big cities.